College of Arts and Sciences

Ancient Studies

Distinguished Lecturer Series

The Distinguished Lecturer Series seeks to provide a venue for faculty and students working on various areas of antiquity to explore common interests. The Program normally invites two major scholars a year whose interests cross traditional disciplinary boundaries. The scholars are chosen by a formal nomination process from the faculty. For the process, each nomination shall be a co-nomination by faculty members from at least two different departments. The lectures are of broad interest to students and faculty members. Each visitor will present a public lecture and meet with interested students and faculty during his or her visit.

Fall 2018

September 17
Monica Smith (University of California, Los Angeles)
Topic: "The Power of Language and the Language of Power: Texts, Scripts, and Decipherment in Comparative Perspective"
What is the purpose of encoding language into script? Our own global surfeit of literacy obscures an appreciation of the profound social disjunction that would have been felt at the moment in which words became materialized into physical form. This talk will compare the incremental development of writing in the Mediterranean world with the dramatic entrée of script in the Indian subcontinent. In greater India, the first widespread symbol system was the as-yet undeciphered Bronze Age Harappan script that eventually disappeared from use. More than a thousand years later, an alphabetic script was developed and displayed in monumental form through stone inscriptions associated with royal support for Buddhist doctrine; the subsequent adoption of writing throughout the subcontinent resulted in a proliferation of textual forms and scripts, the abundant diversity of which continues to have social and political effects.
Time: 4pm
Location: Walnut Room, Indiana Memorial Union

Past Distinguished Lecturers:

  • Emma Dench (Harvard)
  • Barry Strauss (Cornell)
  • Adrienne Mayor (Stanford)
  • Greg Woolf (Institute of Classical Studies)
  • Oliver Taplin (Oxford)
  • Shane Buttler (Johns Hopkins)
  • Willeke Wendrich (UCLA)
  • William Harris (Columbia)
  • Richard Talbert (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)
  • Dale Kinney (Bryn Mawr College)
  • Susan E. Alcock (University of Michigan)
  • Shadi Bartsch (University of Chicago)
  • Mary T. Boatwright (Duke)
  • Glen W. Bowersock (Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton)
  • Alan Cameron (Columbia)
  • John Dillon (Trinity College, Dublin)
  • Katherine Dunbabin (McMaster)
  • Robin Lane Fox (Oxford)
  • Christopher Gill (University of Exeter, UK)
  • Maud Gleason (Berkeley)
  • Fritz Graf (Ohio State University)
  • A. A. Long (Berkeley)
  • Joseph Manning (Yale)
  • Ian Morris (Stanford)
  • Josiah Ober (Stanford University)
  • James Porter (California, Irvine)
  • Richard Saller (Standford)
  • Brent Shaw (Princeton)
  • Lawrence Stager (Harvard
  • Raymond Van Dam (Michigan)
  • Heinrich von Staden (Institute of Advanced Study, Princeton)